Tesla is making environmental purchases sexy. Just as the buzz about the reasonably priced Model S has been circulating the last few weeks, the Hawthorne-Calif.-based car company has finally unveiled the pictures and specs on the new SUV Model X vehicle Friday.
Tesla says pricing of the Model X will be similar to that of the Model S, making the base model near $50,000 (likely after some electric car tax credits).
While the car otherwise resembles the sleek lines of the Porsche SUV, the electric car offers the promise of a family vehicle that is also off the emission grid. Oh and did I mention it has Falcon Wings?
Yup, Tesla took a page out of the 'Back to the Future' Delorean and flashy sports cars' book by adding doors that open up rather than out to the side. So any family that has had to park way off in the boonies so that the kids don't open the doors into the car next to you can get excited by the idea that the Falcon Doors will save you the worry of dinging cars in those cramped parking lots.
Built on the same platform as the Model S, the Model X will be available in both rear- and four-wheel-drive options and three rows of seats to provide some serious carpooling options.
Any mom that has had to pile those kids into the minivan would also love that the second-row seats can slide all the way forward, even when child seats are installed, so kids don't longer leap over or get their dirty sneaker marks all over the second row to access the back row.
Another flashy and fun feature would be the center console touchscreen system that runs car specs and air controls as well as the music and other entertainment features.
And for the families will a lot of cargo, the Model X offers both front and rear storage since it lacks those cumbersome pesky combustion engines.
The car company in no rush to gain a profit, since the company is focusing on re-imagination of the car industry, Tesla is accepting reservations for the Model X even though it isn't expected to hit the showroom floors until 2014.
Tesla convinced a lot of naysayers back in 2008 when its Roadster proved that electric cars could be both functional and sexy -- but it didn't say that it would be cheap (the price tag started north of $100,000).
This model is also a big leap into the future profitability of the company since it required relatively little capital investment (between a third and half of what was spent on Model S) since it used a lot of the same production line.
The company already has reservations for more than 8,000 Model S sedans and the company quarterly financials are expected out on Feb. 15.
Both the Model S and Model X vehicles qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit aimed at encouraging sales of electric vehicles and Tesla already received a $465 million federal loan to develop and build electric vehicles at the California plant where Toyota and General Motors Corp., previously produced cars.
The world of electric vehicles has been getting injections of funding lately. Last year, Coda Holdings, maker of the much-anticipated all electric Coda Sedan, raised $76 million in a Series D round led by new investors Harbinger Capital Partners and Riverstone Holdings. The funds were put toward the production and marketing of the company’s battery-operated, all electric Coda Sedan, as well as the battery production facility that Coda runs with Lishen Power Battery, LIO Energy Systems to create lithium-ion battery cells.
And this past winter, a motorcycle company bringing sexy into the electric vehicle market has landed another $28 million in its second round of funding. The Ashland, Ore.-based Brammo, Inc., recieved the funding for electric motorcycles priced between $7,000 - $15,000.